Mr Blecky Seafood, a hawker stall located on the ground floor of Block 603 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, had been scammed of S$27,000.
The scammer, who claimed to be an employee of a primary school, had asked the stall to place 36 boxes of red wine and food for a banquet their “employer” would be hosting.
Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, the stall owner, Devi (transliteration from Mandarin), said he received a message from the scammer at around 9pm on Aug. 5, 2023.
The scammer said that they were looking to organise a dinner party to treat the staff of the school on the evening of Aug. 7, and the acting principal had requested them to make a reservation for five tables, as well as dishes.
Additionally, the scammer also requested Devi to order some red wine for them and sent him the contact of a wine supplier.
At first, the scammer asked Devi to order five boxes of red wine from the supplier.
Each box would cost S$500, and it would come with six bottles of red wine inside.
However, the scammer later requested Devi to increase the order to 20 boxes of red wine, citing that more people were being invited to the dinner party.
As a result, the total cost of the banquet, including the dishes that were reserved by the scammer, would be S$14,795.
After Devi informed the scammer of the total cost, they responded by claiming they had made the transfer via PayNow.
When Devi probed the scammer again after noticing he had yet to receive the money, the scammer said they were still in the midst of processing the billing matters with the Ministry of Education and that the money would appear in Devi’s bank account in two hours.
Ordered another 16 boxes of red wine
During the two hours in which the scammer claimed they were handling billing matters, they told Devi that they would like to order another 16 boxes of red wine for another dinner party they intended to host two days later because they were very satisfied with his service.
While Devi had yet to receive the amount from the scammer’s first order, he nevertheless trusted their words and placed another order for red wine.
However, after Devi paid the supplier and sent the bill to the scammer, he realised that the messages from the scammer and the supplier had been deleted completely.
He also could no longer get in touch with the two parties afterwards.
Didn’t realise it was a scam throughout
Throughout his interactions with the scammer, Devi said he never thought that he had fallen victim to a scam as it was a good business for the stall if everything went through.
“The scammer used a Singapore number, and the wine supplier had provided a bill which appeared quite formal, so I trusted the words of the scammer even more,” explained Devi.
Additionally, when the scammer said it would take another two hours for the money to appear in Devi’s bank account, Devi also verified the claim with his friend, who worked in a bank.
His friend had confirmed that some transfers would indeed take two hours.
Total loss: S$27,000
Overall, Devi said the stall had lost a total of S$27,000 due to the scam, which included the amount for 36 boxes of red wine (S$18,000) and the amount he used to buy ingredients (S$9,000).
In particular, the scammer ordered a very expensive crab, which required reservation.
However, as they would not be consuming the crab, the ingredients would go to waste, shared Devi.
Devi also lamented that he is currently facing some problems with the cash flow of his business as he would still need to pay his employees their salaries and pay his rent on time.
“Luckily, my employees remain very supportive of me. I sincerely hope by publicising my experience, other stall owners will not become a victim of scams like me,” said Devi.
Devi also revealed that he had since lodged a police report.
Top images via Shin Min Daily News & Google Maps